1. David De Gea
De Gea’s form for Manchester United over the last couple of seasons has propelled him to a league of his own.
His shot stopping ability is almost inhuman, and he has won United so many games with big saves. The FA Cup semi final was a prime example of that when he saved Lukaku’s penalty at a crucial stage in the game.
De Gea made the move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011 for a British record fee for a goalkeeper of around £17 million. De Gea was brought in to replace Van der Sar but the start of his United career was worrying as he looked too lightweight for the Premier League and made several mistakes, especially in set piece situations.
De Gea was highly ridiculed, but after his first season, the young Spaniard’s improvement was extraordinary as he went from strength to strength. United have a broken fax machine to thank for helping them keep him from the clutches of Real Madrid – for this season at least.
The Spaniard is widely expected to pick up his third consecutive Sir Matt Busby player of the season at United, an amazing feat for a goalkeeper, and was named on this season’s PFA team of the season yet again.
De Gea truly is a monster and without a doubt, the best goalkeeper in the world. The scary thing is, h’s still only 25 years old.
2. Gianluigi Buffon
The world’s most expensive ever goalkeeper, and we can see why.
Buffon will go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game, and as his career draws to a close, he is still one of the best in the business.
The 38 year old Italian started out his career all the way back in the early 1990’s for Parma, before making a record breaking move to Juventus in 2001 for a huge sum of 53 million euros. Juve supporters will now tell you it was an absolute bargain.
The Italian has won seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and five Italian Super Cups since joining Juventus. His loyalty to Juventus even when they suffered demotion to Serie B has to be admired. Buffon has the record for most Serie A clean sheets and most minutes without conceding a goal in Serie A, while he has been named Serie A goalkeeper of the year a record ten times.
However, Buffon’s most prized achievement is arguably winning the World Cup in 2006 with Italy. Buffon will retire from international football after Euro 2016, and he will be tough to get past as he would love to go out with a European Championship medal.
An outstanding shot stopper, a great organizer of a defence and a true leader. There are many words that can describe the genius of Buffon. A legend of the game.
3. Manuel Neuer
Many would have Neuer as the number one goalkeeper in the world, and the German has been described as the best goalkeeper to grace the game since Lev Yashin. While that might be premature, there is no doubt that Neuer is a super goalkeeper.
Neuer is seen as unique to other goalkeepers with his ability with the ball at his feet, his speed when rushing off the line, quick reflexes and his control and distribution of the ball.
Neuer can be prone to the odd hiccup, as he can take risks in coming out for the ball at times displaying an over confidence, and his positioning in the box can be questioned. De Gea and Buffon are safer options to have between the sticks, but Neuer is an enigma and his unique brilliance is undeniable.
The German is eccentric and more than an average goalkeeper being described as a “sweeper keeper” by many.
The Bayern Munich star became the second most expensive goalkeeper ever behind Buffon, when he made the switch from Schalke to Bayern in 2011 for an estimated 22 million euros. The big German is close to winning his fifth Bundesliga title, while he is also in contention to help Bayern to another Champions League success this season.
Like Buffon, Neuer is also a World Cup winner having aided Germany to glory in Brazil while this summer he will look to add a European Championship medal to his collection (although he will hope to avoid Shane Long in France!).
Arguably Neuer’s best performance came in a Schalke shirt against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League semi finals, when he made a string of unbelievable saves to keep the score down to just 2-0.
4. Thibaut Courtois
Another young goalkeeper with a massive career ahead of him, the Chelsea and Belgian number one is extremely gifted. Standing at a massive 6 ft 6, Courtois is a safe bet under the high ball and displays great composure.
It is easy to forget he is just 23 years of age, considering he has been playing at such a high level for a few seasons now. Courtois and De Gea are the present and future of goalkeeping. Courtois came up through Genk’s youth system and made his first team debut at just 16 years old.
Courtois was a key figure in Genk’s title victory in 2010-2011 keeping 14 clean sheets in the process. His obvious talent peaked the interest of Chelsea who signed him up in 2011. Courtois was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid where he spent a hugely successful three seasons. Not a bad replacement for De Gea.
Courtois won a Europa League title, Copa Del Rey and La Liga title at the Vicente Calderon. He also played a key role in Atletico’s run to the 2014 Champions League final (controversially playing against parent club Chelsea in the semi final); as they lost to neighbours Real Madrid in the final.
The giant was finally called back to Chelsea for the 2014-2015 season, and took over as number one from Petr Cech straight away as he played a key role in Chelsea’s Premier League title win.
Its been a difficult season for Chelsea, but they must keep Courtois at all costs amid interest from Real Madrid.
5. Hugo LlorisThe Tottenham and France captain is not far off the very best goalkeepers in the world. The fact that he is just 5th reflects the high standard of goalkeepers in world football at the moment.
Lloris is known for shot stopping ability, decision making in one on one situations and for his command of the box. The 29-year-old began his career at Nice, before making the switch to Lyon in 2008 and he was brought in as Lyon’s number one keeper.
Lloris continued to grow in stature at Lyon and in 2012, Daniel Levy made his move to bring Lloris to White Hart Lane. Lloris quickly became an instrumental figure in the Tottenham team and one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. The evidence of this can be seen this season, and Tottenham will need to hang on to players like Lloris if their young team is to continue to make strides.
From an international point of view, his best display for France came in that infamous 2010 World Cup play off against the Republic of Ireland, where he was lavished with praise by his team mates and the media alike who branded him “Saint Lloris”. (Lets not get into the whole Henry handball fiasco).
As captain Lloris will hope to lead France to European Championship glory on home soil.